Kirtlan Chapter 22

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XXII

Beowulf spake,

the son of Ecgtheow:

‘O kinsman of Healfdene,

37 thou far-famed and proud prince,

thou gold-friend of men,

now that eager I am for this forth-faring,

bethink thee now of what we two were speaking together,

that if I should lose my life through helping thee in thy need,

thou wouldst be always to me in the place of a father after my death.

Be thou a guardian to my kinsmen,

my thanes,

and my hand comrades,

if battle should take me.

And dear Hrothgar,

send thou the gifts,

which thou didst give me,

to Hygelac.

And the Lord of the Geats,

the son of Hrethel,

when he looks on the treasure and perceives the gold,

will see that I found a giver of rings,

one good and open-handed,

and that while I could,

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I enjoyed the treasures.

And do thou let Unferth,

the man who is far-famed,

have the old heirloom,

the curiously wrought sword with its wave-like device,

with its hard edge.

I work out my fate with Hrunting,

or death shall seize me.

’

After these words the Lord of the Weder-Geats courageously hastened,

and by no means would he wait for an answer.

The whelming sea received the battle-hero.

And it was a day’s while before he could see the bottom of the sea.

And very soon the fierce and eager one who had ruled the expanse of the floods for a hundred years,

she,

the grim and greedy,

saw that a man was searching out from above the dwelling of strange monsters.

Then she made a grab at him,

and closed on the warrior with dire embrace.

But not at first did she scathe his body,

safe and sound.

The ring surrounded it on the outside,

so that she could not pierce the coat of mail or the interlaced war-shirt with loathsome finger.

Then the sea-wolf,

when she came to the bottom of the sea,

bore the Ring-Prince towards her house so that

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he might not,

though he was so strong in soul,

wield any weapon;

and many a wonder oppressed him in the depths,

many a sea-beast broke his war-shirt with his battle-tusks,

and monsters pursued him.

Then the earl saw that he was in he knew not what hall of strife,

where no water scathed him a whit,

nor could the sudden grip of the flood touch him because of the roof-hall.

He saw,

too,

a firelight,

a bright pale flame shining.

Then the good man caught sight of the she-wolf,

that monstrous wife,

down in the depths of the sea.

And he made a mighty rush with his sword.

Nor did his hand fail to swing it so that the ringed mail on her head sang a greedy death-song.

Then Beowulf the stranger discovered that the battle-blade would not bite or scathe her life,

but the edge failed the lord in his need.

It had suffered many hand-blows,

and the helmet,

the battle-dress of the doomed one,

it had often cut in two.

That was the first time that his dear sword-treasure failed him.

Then he became resolute,

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and not by any means did he fail in courage,

that kinsman of Hygelac,

mindful of glory.

And this angry warrior threw away the stout sword,

bound round with jewels with its wavy decorations,

and with its edge of steel,

so that it lay prone on the ground;

and henceforth he trusted in his strength and the hand-grasp of might.

So should a man be doing when he thinketh to be gaining long-lasting praise in fighting,

and careth not for his life.

Then the Lord of the Geats seized by the shoulder the mother of Grendel (nor at all did he mourn over that feud),

and he,

the hard in battle,

threw down his deadly foe,

when he was angry,

so that she lay prone on the floor.

But she very quickly,

with grimmest of grips,

requited him a hand-reward,

and made a clutch at him.

And the weary in soul,

that strongest of fighters,

he the foot-warrior stumbled and fell.

Then she sat on that hall-guest,

and drew forth her axe,

broad and brown-edged,

and would fain be avenging the death of her child,

of her only son.

But on his shoulder was the coat of mail all

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woven,

which saved his life and prevented the entrance of the point and the edge of the sword.

And the son of Ecgtheow,

the Prince of Geats,

would have surely gone a journey under the wide earth unless that warlike coat of mail had given him help,

that hard war-net,

and unless the Holy God He the cunning Lord,

and the Ruler in the heavens,

had wielded the victory,

and easily decided the issue aright;

then he straightway stood up.

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